ISLAMABAD: With an eye on recent world events, the government has decided to constitute a special team that will carry out round-the-clock monitoring of blasphemous material on the internet and block it.
A recently released anti-Islam film on YouTube has sparked anti-US protests across the Muslim world. The government claims that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and IT ministry have blocked 122 anti-Islamic websites during the past few days.
This monitoring team will be headed by a legal member of the ministry of information technology and will include officials from PTA and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The team’s mandate is to closely monitor blasphemous content, anti-Islamic slogans, videos, audio and other offensive material and block it.
The decision was taken on Friday at a meeting attended by Federal Secretary of the Interior, secretary of the minister of information technology, Chairman PTA, Additional Secretary ministry of interior, FIA Director and other senior officers of related ministries.
“The government has very firmly decided that Pakistan will take serious cognisance of any such detrimental material to Islam and obscene material being released on the internet and being replicated in Pakistan. All web designers, web sites, blocked sites and social media are to refrain from planting any such material which may hurt the feelings of Muslims,” an official statement issued after the meeting chaired by Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.
In its statement, the authorities have told the public that any blasphemous material that comes to their attention must be reported immediately to the PTA on 080055055 or emailed to [email protected]
The government clarified that it was not blocking popular websites YouTube and Facebook, only anti-Islamic material. It added that obscene material shall be blocked on case to case basis.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2012.
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